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Archive for November, 2006

So the MPG increased that much?

November 22nd, 2006 at 07:53 pm

A little background...

While I was away from the blogs, I needed to make a semi long trip, about 2 hours each way. As I was on my way I found (via call) I would be arriving way too early and would need to wait maybe a half hour for the person I was going to visit. What I have done in the past on this trip is about half way I switch from highway to a parallel road that is four lanes and maybe 5 traffic lights for 40 miles, then I get back onto the super busy expressway for the last 10 miles to her house. I do this because the other road is not travelled by many people and it makes for a relaxing ride.

Anyway, I had a choice. Stop somewhere for maybe an hour, or drive slowly to get there when I needed. I went that route (the parallel road) and drove maybe 45 MPH instead of 55 to 60 on this stretch of my trip. It worked out right and I arrived after she did. On the way back I did the same, taking that road and enjoying the relaxing portion of the drive only going 45 MPG.

So when I stopped and got gas I found that my MPG had increased to 40 MPG for the last tankfull. This surprised me and got me thinking.... How much was my MPG for just driving a very relaxed, no stop light 45 MPH. Using some general guess-timates, here is what I came up with.

(Boring math analysis alert)

Start with my normal MPG. This tankful had lots of highway driving, and that will normally come in at 36 up to 38 MPG. I will go with 37 MPG for what it normally would have been. The overall trip on the tank of gas was 420 miles, but lets round down to 400 miles. My "slow" portion of the tank was 2 times 40, or 80 miles. So that means only 20% of the trip was at the higher MPG rate. That would mean that whatever increase I see in my overall MPG, I would need to multiply by 5 to get the increase for just the 20% of the trip. My increase was 3 (40 - 37) MPG, so for the time I was doing 45MPH, I was getting an increase of 3 times 5 or 15 more MPG. Normally I get 37, so this means I was getting 52 MPG for that portion of the trip.

OK that was a lot of assumptions, but I don't think it will be that far from the truth. Think of it, I can up my MPG to over 50 by driving really smoothly at a leasurely pace.

I dunno, but this really surprised me when I worked the numbers out. Maybe it will give you pause when you think smooth slow driving doesn't help the fuel efficiency of your car.

Found money, rants & more (Long read)

November 19th, 2006 at 06:46 am

Dang, its been a while since I posted anything. Of course I have excuses Smile By the way, instead of splitting all these stories up, I left them all in here. So this is a loooong post.

My computer died on me about a month ago and I have been trying to restore my system. I have everything working but my wireless router connection Frown Hopefully that will be resolved soon.

Rant #1) I will never, and I do mean never, buy anything from Tiger Direct again. My old computer was from them and it had more problems than I could believe. I would fix one thing from them, and others would start. And previously I bought a computer from them, only to find out they sent me the wrong parts (the CPU wouldn't work with the sent motherboard - even though it was a package deal!). When I called, the rep even said that yes, they knew they sent the wrong CPU. I didn't ask why they didn't contact me, that instead I had to spend a month researching the problem before I realized it was their fault. I'm a patient customer, but thats it with them. No more.

Rant #2) I got to read an article in the paper today that I was stunned to read. In the business section, this person said it was ok to tithe at your church before paying your debts, even if you are in bankruptcy. Click here to read. Now I am no fan of credit companies, but if I was owed money and instead the money was being sent to a church and they couldn't pay me, you might actually see the steam coming off my head. Some people may disagree, but I see that article as worse then irresponsible. Unreal.

Rant #3) I bought my new computer at Circuit City. While there a nice guy helped me with some questions I had about this computer, and after he headed off to do some stocking, I decided to get the computer. As I couldn't find him again, I caught some other guy, and yes, he could do my order. Seems this one was the manager of the store. As we're going through this he asks if I decided on the extended warranty. "Oh I don't know, what is it?" Now I knew I wasn't going to get it, but I thought I should hear it out anyway, just in case. Well this guy was surprised I didn't know about it, and went through the details, giving me lots of reasons, and even antecdotes of why it was the best thing ever to do. I declined (multiple times!), and at different times the guy was muttering how he was upset the other salesman didn't bring up the warranty and that he would have to talk with him. If I wasn't in a bad need to get the computer I would have walked out then and there. Its bad enough how pushy they ask salesmen to be about those things, but to go on how he would have to deal with the salesman in front of a customer, that was just plain stupid. Triple Ugh.

Found Money #1) I was checking my online credit card bill, and saw I had over $40 in cash back, which surprised me, as it should have been less than $10. After checking the numbers, I realized it was from my computer purchase. Discover has quarterly specials where buying from certain retailers would give you 5% back. Well I signed up and forgot, figuring I would never go to those stores. Well one was Circuit City, and thats where I got the computer from. So good for me!

Found Money #2) I found out last week that for the branch christmas party there will be a gift exchange where the presents should be $20-$25. I'm not a big fan of doing this, but it makes other people happy, so ok I suppose. Well I was out seeing if there were yard sales yesterday, and I found only two. But one had a nice item, still in the original plastic wrap, and I got it for a dollar. I thought I could use it for the swap, and last night I checked the only store it sells at, and it goes for $20. Score! (ok, not found money, but it avoids spending money, so it works for me)

Found Money #3) I stopped at the book store last night. When I drove up I could have sworn I saw a shiny dot as I went in to park. I got out and didn't see anything at first, but then I saw it. A quarter right next to my tire. That plus some pennies found in the store and shoot, there's money everywhere!

Frugal doesn't always work) While at the book store I went to use a free coffee coupon I had been sent. I'm not a coffee drinker, but after talking at the register I found I could only use it on coffee or tea (not hot chocolate - damn). Well I thought lets try the coffee. How bad could it be? Ugh. It was a cappachino, and I could only take a few sips before I gave up. When I got home I drank some fruit drink then used mouthwash to get the taste out of my mouth. I think that will be my last coffee for the next decade.

Why do they send me this stuff?) If anyone remembers, I like to get credit cards so I can get start up rewards, or 0% money for investing. Well I keep getting these preapproved stuff from different companies, especially now from Capital One. I guess pre-approved means I am breathing, because I sure am not approved. I applied to Capital One, and got a letter back saying I wasn't approved, and gave a list of reasons why. I'm not complaining, its their money. The reasons probably make sense to them, but come'on, why are you sending this junk out if you're just going to reject me anyway? Stuff like this is why I don't have much sympathy for credit card companies. Dumb, dumb, and dumber.

More found Furniture) During yesterday's yard sale travel I came across one of those fibre-board with fake wook laminate shelving system left outside. You know, the type with four shelves that sell at Wal-Mart for maybe $50. It was too large for fit in my hatchback, but then I realized I could take it apart and I could fit the pieces in. (Get out the tools time) It was in great shape (almost new) and the people even had left the extra hardware inside in a bag. While taking it apart the person came out and we started talking some. Then she offered me a matching unit if I would come back in a few weeks. She was very happy someone would take them, and gave me her name and number. Hey, that works for me.